Guiding students towards a suitable roof over their heads is the ongoing mission for Housing Officer Sabrina van Veen and Raphaël Boegheim, Project Leader and Policy Advisor for USC-Real Estate Services.
Sabrina van Veen and Raphaël Boegheim
‘With the annual increase of the international student population comes a growing demand for student housing,’ Van Veen and Boegheim say. ‘But while finding students a place to live is not one of the core activities of the EUR, the availability of good housing options does come into play when students are picking a university. No matter how great the curriculum may be, if students can’t find a place to live they’ll be inclined to look farther afield.’
‘Essentially, the policy of the EUR right now is to not provide or arrange student housing. We leave that up to the housing market. Until recently that worked just fine, because market supply and demand were in balance. The EUR has two ongoing responsibilities. The first is an agreement with the Society for Student Housing, or Stichting Studenten Huisvesting (SSH), to reserve fully furnished rooms for approximately 530 first-year International Bachelors/Masters and exchange students, known as the ‘housing contingent’. The second is pointing potential students towards commercial parties in the housing market, primarily through www.housing.eur.nl.’
‘However,’ they continue, ‘the housing market in Rotterdam is changing, and we’re seeing shortages now. At the same time the number of international students is rapidly increasing, putting the contingent under pressure. There’s a trend towards providing students with a more comprehensive service, which includes making initial housing arrangements. The EUR has decided to address this issue, and is re-assessing the current policy. We’re collaborating with the International Office for the re-assessment,. It’s crucial that we keep track of students’ needs as well as market fluctuations. Meanwhile, we are updating the housing website to manage their expectations and possibilities to find housing’.
While working towards a new policy, the EUR investigated how to increase our contingent at short notice for the current year 2017/2018. After intensive exploration of the matter with several parties involved, as well as the municipality, these expansions are now in place:
The SSH contingent was expanded with several units within buildings that were already part of the contingent;
A collaboration with XIOR Student Housing came into effect on September 1, when they opened a student housing facility next to campus. All 259 units are rented out to international EUR students;
A ‘50 secured rooms’ deal is in place with Housing Anywhere; those 50 rooms are reserved for our international students.
‘Shortly a number of views on deadling with housing issiues will come up for discussion with representatives from various faculties. These discussions are meant to reveal whether views are concurring or discrepant, and to initiate consensus on a policy plan that aims at housing support.’